The SMSC has a long-standing history of leadership in sustainability and innovation. We are honored by the recognition bestowed upon these efforts by our larger community of friends and neighbors.

Environmental Initiative Awards—Large-Scale Sustainability Impacts

The SMSC’s NativeGreen campaign was recognized in 2020 by Environmental Initiative, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, as the recipient of its Large-Scale Sustainability Impacts award. The award’s evaluation team at Environmental Initiative described the honor as follows:

“NativeGreen is a community-wide effort to increase environmental stewardship, ensure long-term financial sustainability, and enhance social stewardship. This initiative reinforces the values of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) of being a good steward of Uŋcí Mak̇a (Grandmother Earth). Considering the relationship with the earth as sacred and a kinship based on the Dakota tradition of planning seven generations ahead, there is a commitment to restore and preserve the environment. NativeGreen culminates many years of innovative environmental efforts—rooting the value into all areas of business and life into a campaign that unites environmental efforts across its enterprises, tribal government, and the surrounding region. In addition, traditional waste streams, obsolete building materials, usable soft goods, and recovered food from the SMSC’s enterprises and events, have been donated to nonprofit partners. NativeGreen’s initiatives contribute to the betterment of the natural and built environments by restoring native prairies, reducing waste in landfills, producing renewable energy, and limiting demand of groundwater. Its efforts and learnings are also shared with other sovereign nations, to support economic stability, increase public health, and preserve the earth.”

Each year, the Large-Scale Sustainability Impacts Award recognizes a partnership involving large organizations, such as municipalities or companies, working to improve sector-specific practices by creating replicable, scalable solutions to environmental challenges. Environmental Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that brings people together, to create scalable solutions to the problems our society faces. To learn more about Environmental Initiative, visit

Freshwater Society Clean Water Champion

In 2019, the SMSC was recognized by the Freshwater Society as a Clean Water Champion. This honor was described at the annual Ice Out, Loon In awards ceremony as follows:

“The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has a truly enlightened vision of long-term management of natural resources. For years they’ve quietly advanced state-of-the-art systems for water management and shared their knowledge at an array of technical conferences for city engineers, resource managers, and local governments. They are early adopters of systems other communities may one day deploy, including strategies to promote the sustainable use of groundwater through water reuse, as well as careful consideration of the potential for enhanced groundwater recharge.”

Freshwater Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to inspire and empower people to value and preserve our freshwater resources. To learn more about the Clean Water Champion awards and the Freshwater Society, visit

Governor’s Award for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention

The SMSC facility was also awarded the Minnesota Governor’s Award for Excellence in Waste and Pollution Prevention. The 16th annual award was presented during a banquet on February 28, 2007. The award honors superior environmental achievement by Minnesota nonprofit organizations, businesses, and private institutions for programs or projects that benefit the environment by reducing or eliminating wastes and pollutants at the source.

MSPE Seven Wonders of Engineering Award

The Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) 2007 Seven Wonders of Engineering Award was presented to the SMSC February 23, 2007, in Bloomington, Minnesota, as part of MSPE’s Engineers Week celebration. Entries were judged on the engineering methods, systems, and skills utilized by the project team, as well as the project’s social impact.

Minnesota ACEC Grand Award

The Minnesota American Council on Engineering Companies (ACEC) presented the SMSC with a Grand Award at a banquet held January 26, 2007. The ACEC competition recognizes projects that demonstrate a high degree of achievement, value, and ingenuity. For more than 40 years, this competition has awarded uniqueness and originality.